It has been shown that adaptogenic herbs help the body maintain homeostasis by affecting the central nervous system (CNS)and balancing hormones to target stress, fatigue and build immunity. In many studies, adaptogenic herbs have been shown to reduce the stress hormone (Cortisol). Many of us are in constant fight or flight mode, releasing too much cortisol throughout the day. High levels of cortisol can have damaging effects on our health.
Symptoms of High cortisol levels (1)
high blood pressure.
urinating more frequently.
changes in mood, such as feeling irritable or low.
rapid weight gain in the face and abdomen.
Of course, finding other ways to balance stress and cortisol is highly recommended, like exercise, meditation, nutrition, and sleep. But if you are trying all of these out and still not getting that reduction in fight or flight mode, here are the top Adaptogenic Herbs I recommend:
Ashwagandha: Reduces Stress, Builds Immunity. In many trials, Ashwagandha has been shown to lower cortisol levels (the stress hormone) and increase immunity by increasing immunoglobulin function. Some people also use Ashwagandha to improve thinking ability, decrease pain and swelling (inflammation), and prevent the effects of aging. To date, there are over 200 studies and research trials on all the benefits of Ashwagandha.
Rhodiola: Like many adaptogens, Rhodiola was historically used in traditional Chinese medicine for its ability to reduce stress and improve physical endurance. A 2012 study was done on the effects of Rhodiola extract and stress reduction. Participants were given 400 mg per day for four weeks . The study found significant improvements in symptoms of stress, fatigue, exhaustion, and anxiety after just three days. These improvements continued throughout the study. Rhodiola has also been shown to improve symptoms of burnout, which can occur with chronic stress. (3)
Ren Shen (Panax Ginseng): Among the adaptogenic herbs, Ginseng may well be one of the most widely used to improve energy and general health. It is still commonly used in Asia as the top herb for immunity, wellness, and energy.
Lion’s Mane: King of neuro-protective mushrooms, and I believe it should be a regular adaptogen for anyone struggling with brain fog or memory loss. Nerve Growth Factors (NGFs) found in this mushroom can regenerate and protect brain tissue. So far, about a dozen studies have been published on the neuro-regenerative properties of lion’s mane.
Turkey tail: Contains two powerful polysaccharides called PSP and PSK (aka Kreskin). Researchers found that a daily dose of turkey tail improved immune function in cancer patients.
Cordyceps: A bronchodilator, hormone balancer, and increases levels of energy and endurance. Cordyceps are thought to increase the body’s production of the molecule (ATP), which is essential for delivering energy to the muscles. This may improve the way your body uses oxygen, especially during exercise (1, 2). In one study, researchers tested their effects on exercise capacity in 30 healthy older adults using a stationary bike. Participants received either 3 grams per day of a synthetic strain of Cordyceps called CS-4 or a placebo pill for six weeks. By the end of the study, VO2 max had increased by 7% in participants who had taken CS-4, while participants given the placebo pill showed no change .
Reishi: mushroom enhances the immune system, reduces stress, improves sleep, and lessens fatigue. Reishi mushroom contains chemicals that seem to have various potentially beneficial effects, including activity against tumors (cancer) and beneficial effects on the immune system. One of the most important effects of the Reishi mushroom is its immune-boosting properties(4).
So if you are stressed out, feeling exhausted, anxious, and overworked, think about adding some adaptogens to your diet. They are easily accessible through my dispensary or feel free to reach out to me for individualized consultations.